This book has been recommended to me by at least 2 people and this is also considered to be the best work by Murthy. Now having read enough of her I did had my expectations set beforehand and thankfully they were met.
The story revolves round a lady Anupama who is beautiful beyond words, while she is enacting in a Sanskrit play titled ‘Mahashweta’ she catches the fancy of the renowned and rich doctor Anand. Both of them get married and Anand has to leave for England for further studies. Anupama develops a case of leukoderma and she is shunned by all and even her in laws throw her out of her home. Even Anand doesn’t support her and leaves her to fend for herself. After a long fight to get back with Anand, Anupama looses all hopes and then gathers all her courage and moves to Mumbai and makes a good career for herself.
The story is set in the state of Karnataka but is pretty much true for any other part of India. There was a time when leukoderma and Leprosy were considered to be a curse of God. People who used to contract such disease were ostracized by the society. I do remember that time and remember it quite well because when I was growing up I heard many initiatives taken by government to curb this disease and create awareness among masses. I myself wrote and delivered a speech on leprosy (and won a prize too :-)) when in school.
Getting back to the book, Sudha Murthy’s books feel like a different breeze altogether (mostly breeze blowing in the small towns and villages), it takes you back to those early days when India was very much different from now on. The small towns, people within, their conversations are so grasped and expressed by the author that it brings a feeling of read something fresh.
Her writings are good but then you can just read them every now and then and some people who are serious fiction readers might not even like her books. But definitely Mahashweta for me scores among the top books by her.
I specially liked the postscript, being an author you sometime don’t realize how your stories can touch other people lives.